Rom 4 – We experience truth by believing it

(4.1) Let’s go back to father Abraham.  What did he get, and how did he get it? (2) Did his own moral efforts create a right relationship between him and Papa?  That certainly would have been impressive (but only to us, not to Papa). (3) The scriptures say:

“By entrusting himself to Papa, Abraham entered into what he had been given – a right relationship with Papa and the world.”

(4) Abraham was not earning a paycheck; he was receiving a gift.  BIG difference! (5) It is not we who are working hard to earn a right relationship with Papa.  It is Papa who (along with Jesus and Sarayu) has already worked hard to create a right relationship with people like us!  Though we have earned nothing, we have been given everything.  As we trust in the giver, we begin to share in the incarnate Son’s right relationship with his Papa and with all things in the dance of Sarayu.

(6) David himself celebrates those who receive this gift (as opposed to those who work to somehow earn it):

(7) “How wonderful it is to be forgiven, to have one’s wounds cleaned and bandaged! (8) How wonderful it is to know that Papa has chosen to never use my bad decisions as a weapon against me!”

(9) But wonderful for whom?  To whom is this gift given?  Only to those with surgically-altered wangs, or to everyone? We say:

“By entrusting himself to Papa, Abraham entered into what he had been given – a right relationship with Papa and the world.”

(10) Did he receive this gift after his wang surgery? No, it was before! (11) His circumcision was a sign testifying to the truth of an already-accomplished fact – his right relationship with Papa, a relationship he had already received through faith when his wang was still un-cut. The whole point was for Abraham to become the forefather of ALL who receive a right relationship with Papa through faith.  When he received this gift before his surgery, he became the father of all believers who have not had the surgery. (12) He also became the father of the believers who HAVE had the surgery, but also follow the example of his faith before his surgery. (13) Papa promised Abraham the world.  How did he receive that inheritance?  How do we receive it?  Not through our perfect commitment to Torah, but through trust in the One who is committed to perfecting us!

(14) If obedience to Torah earns our inheritance, then faith is worthless and the promise is no promise at all. (15) Think about it: Torah decrees punishment for people like us who violate it.  If Torah is what it’s all about, then we’re all screwed. (Come to think of it, it is in some ways beneficial to be without Torah, because you can’t break rules you don’t have, right?). (16) We receive our inheritance not by keeping rules but by trusting in the One who rules us and keeps us.  What is promised is a gift, not an earned wage.  The gift is received by all of Abraham’s children – yes, the children who follow Torah, but also the children who share in his faith but DON’T follow Torah. He is the father of us all, (17) as the Bible says:

“I have made you the father of MANY peoples.”

We trust the One he trusted, the One in whom we live and move and have our being, the One who makes life out of death, the One who makes all things out of nothings. (18) Abraham rested in the promise of an impossible future in which he would be “the father of many peoples,” with “descendants beyond number.” (19) Despite the obvious anatomical facts that his and Sarah’s bodies were utterly incapable of producing offspring. (20) Over the years, not only did his trust endure, but it actually grew stronger as he thanked Papa for what had been promised, (21) being convinced of what is really the most rational of all beliefs – that Papa is able to do what he says he will do. (22) Thus, through his faith, “Abraham entered into what he had been given – a right relationship with Papa and the world.”

(23) When it says “he entered into what he had been given,” it’s talking not just about Abraham (24) but about us as well.  We also will enter into that gift as we trust in him who raised Master Jesus from the dead, Jesus who took human wrongness to the grave and then rose with the gift of human rightness for all.

Leave a Reply